Jackie Bradley, Jr. is one of the best players to ever suit up for the South Carolina baseball program. Had he not battled injuries throughout his career, he might have gone down as the best to ever play in Columbia.
Earlier this week, national MLB writer Jon Heyman published in the New York Post a story on the New York Yankees outfield situation heading into 2024. Buried at the bottom of the story was a report that Bradley, Jr. is “expected to retire.”
If JBJ does hang up his cleats, he will conclude an 11-year Major League Baseball career in which he was one of the best defensive outfielders of his generation. Bradley, Jr. won just one Gold Glove, but much of that was because he played much of his career at the same time as other generational talents in centerfield, most notably Kevin Keirmaier.
Bradley, Jr. also was a 2016 All-Star and the 2018 ALCS MVP en route to his second World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox. In addition to his Red Sox career, Jackie Bradley, Jr. also played briefly for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals.
JBJ was one of four former Gamecocks to hit at least 100 career home runs at the Major League level. Dave Hollins (112), Justin Smoak (196), and Christian Walker (121; still active) are the other two. He also had over 200 doubles. 77 of his 109 longballs and 110 of his 204 career two-baggers came in his “healthy peak.”
Just as he did in college, Bradley, Jr. dealt with injuries throughout his professional career, but when he was healthy, he was a very valuable player for some elite Red Sox teams.
During his South Carolina baseball career, Jackie Bradley, Jr. finished in the top-25 in USC history in hits, home runs, runs scored, and RBI, despite only being on campus for three seasons and dealing with multiple injuries.